Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fifth

Melanie Stormm

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She served as guest editor for issue 43.4 of Star*Line, an issue focused entirely on Black voices in the speculative arts. Find her in her virtual home at Wipe your feet before entering.]


Hello All, Melanie here! I have another email from Writer X for you to see. The closet thing is still bothering me, but you know what’s really been on my mind? The importance of letting several people read your made up character and place names OUT LOUD so that you can catch mistakes that are potentially embarrassing down the line.

I’m curious. What’s the worst character name you’ve created? Read?

I was once ruthlessly saved from naming a swordsman “Shitand.” Which I, of course, loftily pronounced Sheh-TAHnd, but others may have pronounced…well, you can figure it out. 

Without further ado, the latest email. All typos and punctuation choices belong to Writer X.

Subject: I’m the worst writer in the world

Dear Gladys,

I don’t know what happened. I got into the sixth chapter and all of a sudden it felt like the road disappeared from right under me. I couldn’t get the voice right. I kept thinking about the words. I couldn’t really picture what was happening next. I think I got writer’s block.

I went back and re-read the chapters that I read you and now I’m realizing that you were absolutely right!!! Nothing is happening!!! And until you send me the 60 second script I don’t even know what this story’s about!!!!

This all feels so lifeless. The only thing I really know about Fenchin is that she wears skinny jeans. Maybe I just need to switch characters.

I feel like if I were a better writer, this would be easy. I would just be able to go “blah blah blah, blah blah blah” and it would be the exact right thing. I used to picture that people would line up just to see a screen shot of my rough draft or a scan of my paper napkin chapters but now, I wouldn’t show them to my waste removal professional.

Not that they’re coming around with any regularity since the chicken incident. I’ll tell you about that later but right now I need you to focus on my story.

I got really stuck. I’m going to have to put a pin in Fenchin and her operating the hummindaal. Instead, I did a quick brainstorm on everything that’s wrong with Fenchin and I negated all of those things and I came up with a new character!!!!

The only trouble is, she’s completely different than Fenchin so she’s not a replacement. Instead, I think she’s just an extra character like in epic fantasy. I think I might make a bunch of characters so that every time I get stuck, I just have a new character start their story and eventually they’ll all run into each other. Because she’s a different character, I had to do a little bit more world-building and I’m putting her homeland as a secret land within the land. Okay, are you ready to hear a little more about her?

Her name is Pujyna and she comes from the realm of the Nyther Regions. She’s a raven haired, bronzed-skin beauty and she doesn’t take no for an answer. She does alien investigations for a living (somehow this is going to tie in with the hummindaal but I haven’t quite figured out yet.) I think I’m going to have a love triangle between her and Fenchin and Musradi. Maybe they won’t be a triangle, maybe they’ll just be a thrupple.

Maybe they’ll become a thrupple in book seven. Maybe they’ll just be a love triangle until then.


This is a precarious place to be. I’m excited about a new character and starting her storyline, but I’m also really depressed about the quality of the pages I’ve produced. This time, I need to do a little research before I start writing so that’s what I’m going to do in lieu of sending pages.

I reached out to a local UFO Communications and Far Far Right Gun Group on Facebook and they got back to me right away and invited me to a meeting they’re having at the park on the other side of town. I usually don’t like going out that way because the houses and the people are creepy, but I see this as another fated event. Why else would they get back to me so quickly??? The hardest part will be finding their pavilion which, I assume from their group name, is on the far far right side of the park.

The weirdest thing happened the other night. I couldn’t sleep because of all that moonlight and my evil neighbor A____’s chickens. Then, I heard the bell in town begin to ring. It’s such a lonely, foreboding sound. It’s very late, but I don’t think the bell is telling the time. This is different. I can just feel it. The chickens got quiet and stayed quiet. Other than a little scratching sound from my walk-in closet, it was finally peaceful and I fell straight to sleep.

In the morning, I woke up to police sirens and flashing lights in my backyard. I ran outside and the entire neighborhood was covered in chicken feathers. A____’s chickens had all disappeared. No blood. Just white and green feathers covering the entire neighborhood. They had to bring in the fire department to start spraying eveything down and now the streets and gutters and my gladiolas are covered with chicken feathers.

Hang on, my phone’s ringing. BRB.

Okay, that was that creep, Brian, from The Society calling to make sure I’m okay. I don’t know what he’s talking about. Of course I’m fine. He said I’m in danger and I told him that’s what he said a couple weeks ago but the full moon has come and gone and I don’t see hell breaking loose.

He said there could be a slight delay on hell breaking loose. I asked how long of a delay. He said he didn’t know, it’s not a precise thing but rather like a force of energy flooding from one world and intermingling with ours as though you were slowing pouring acid in a garden. I asked him if he has anyone else he prefers to stalk since C___’s died.

You know what he just told me????

He said C____’s not dead!!!! Or at least he said there’s a possibility that C___’s not dead. I said like hell he is, I buried what was left of him in the cemetery around the corner from my house.

The nerve of this guy. Then he says he needs to talk to me about Neil Gaiman and that I have to take this very seriously. I told him I’m in the middle of an email and hung up.

Anyway, I’m going to pull up that UFO meet up on google maps, collect all my “various possible forms of identification” that they asked I bring, call my dentist and ask him to transfer my complete dental records to Mr. D____ of the UFO group. It’s a good thing my dentist is 96 years old and hasn’t ever updated from filing cabinets, that should be no trouble at all. Next, all I have to do is pick out an outfit for next week’s meetup and try to build a backstory for Pujyna!!

No pages this week. Except for notes!!! Notes are very important, Gladys!!!!!